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article imageBritish universities tumble down global league tables

By Tim Sandle     Oct 3, 2015 in World
British universities have tumbled down the latest league tables, with only Cambridge in the top five. However, the metrics used for assessing the placements have recently been changed.
The newly revised list is dominated by the big U.S. players. The list has been compiled by QS World University Rankings. There are several university league tables; however, QS is regarded as one of the most authoritative. An example of an alternate system is one run by the Times Educational Supplement. At one time, QS and The Times published a joint league table, but there was a departure over the criteria used and separate league tables are now issued.
Coming in the top spot is Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), with Harvard in second place.
The top 10 are:
1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2. Harvard University
3. University of Cambridge
4. Stanford University
5. California Institute of Technology
6. University of Oxford
7. University College London
8. Imperial College London
9. Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich
10. University of Chicago
Although the placements for the big U.K. institutions have slipped, the UK retains four universities in the top 10. There has been some movement, however. London’s Imperial College, for instance, which was ranked second in 2014 falls to eighth position. Oxford, often regarded as being of equal status to Cambridge, slips to sixth. Another well-regarded intuition, Kings College London, remains well outside the top 10 at nineteenth.
The biggest U.K. climber is the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), which moves up from 71st to 35th place. Speaking with The Guardian, LSE’s director, Professor Craig Calhoun, said: “LSE’s latest global university ranking as the best social science institution in the UK and second best in the world is testament to both the school and London’s reputation as a world class center for education.”
One reason for such dramatic changes is due to a change in the way universities are assessed. Previously QS rankings favored universities strong in research, which led to many academic papers and citations. This biased those universities strong in scientific subject. This was considered to be unfair to those bodies that are strong in social sciences, arts and humanities. Thus the system was revised to make scoring my balanced.
In a statement leading up to the change, a spokesperson from QS said: “This will represent the single biggest shift in approach since 2007 but we will have a cycle of communication running into any potential changes, and we will also lay out a plan to ensure institutions have what they need to maintain any year on year monitoring they have been doing.
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